Should Illinoisans be allowed to take video of police?

SPRINGFIELD — State Rep. Elaine Nekritz will try to revive a stalled plan to allow Illinoisans to take video of police officers in some circumstances.

Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, earlier this year tried to legalize taking video of some interactions with police in public places, arguing that people arrested for taking the videos shouldn’t be made felons. And, she says, the videos can help hold police accountable for their actions.

“The law has not kept up with technology,” Nekritz said in a statement. “The ubiquitous cellphone now puts everyone at risk of being a felon.”

Police opposed the idea, and the first attempt to change the law failed in the Illinois House.

Videotaping police interactions runs afoul of an Illinois law that makes it a felony to record audio of someone without his or her consent — police at a traffic stop, for example.

Nekritz has filed new legislation to ease concerns that the video could be tampered with to unfairly suggest wrongdoing by police. Under her new plan, anyone suspected of tampering with a video in such a case could face penalties.

Still, police opposition appears likely to remain, which could mean an uphill battle for Nekritz, even with her revised plan.

“Our position has not changed,” said Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

Police have said the potential of being taped can stymie investigations and make their jobs more difficult.

Lawmakers return to Springfield Tuesday and could debate the plan next week.

Illinois’ audio recording law under scrutiny

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